(ANSA) - Rome, January 22 - A helicopter from an Italian
Navy amphibious ship sighted a boat carrying approximately 200
migrants some 90 nautical miles south of the island of Lampedusa
shortly after midday Wednesday.
Given the large number of passengers on board, a frigate
ship and another helicopter were sent in the direction of the
boat on a rescue mission starting around 2:40 PM.
Following the initial sighting, the boat had its movements
tracked by an Air Force Predator drone, which took off from the
Amendola Air Base as part of the joint-forces collaboration
foreseen by Italian search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum.
The operation for migrant security was launched by the
Italian government in October last year after several rafts
carrying migrants shipwrecked off the country's coasts, killing
The operation includes amphibious ships, unmanned drones
and helicopters with infrared equipment.